I tend to say that YOB are to Doom what Amenra are to Post-hardcore, as very few bands manage to be as stirring and cathartic as the latter. However, pigeonholing two bands who’ve crafted such unique realm and discography would be pointless. The Oregon trio don’t need no introduction. They’ve established as masters of the stage, through skull-crushing performances, heart-rending music, metaphysical lyrics and charismatic and skilled frontman. The man has gone through difficult times, and almost made it to the cemetery. So we expected some change, with darker themes hidden under a mysterious title…
This new chapter opens on “Ablaze”, in my opinion the strongest track on this record. From the first notes, dark but hopeful sounds convey as much sorrow as it leads to acceptance faced with a tragic event – as I’m writing this, souls have left this world and even though I barely or didn’t even know them, it’s always moving to see how deeply it affect us. This is how time flows and souls go, when they leave this big canvas that is Humanity. Sound-wise, we can’t help but notice “cleaner” and lighter instruments. Less thick and oppressive… Mike Scheidt’s voice gets highlighted with very few effects. His voice is purer, realer, slightly hoarse, yet he hasn’t lost his power when comes his legendary growls.
When those sweet melodies fade away, a cobblestone breaks the silence. “The Screen” was a song I would hardly get into at first, probably due to a monotonous guitar and quiet vocals, but you really immerse yourself into it, it happens to be quite bewitching. With a riff stretched over the span of 9 minutes and melodic build-ups that vanish into darkness… It feels like struggling to get out of a bog. Like fighting to survive a nightmare, only guided by a dark mantra. A Doom meditation laden with dissonant, bone-crushing notes.
Then comes the void, silence. Then comes fury again. “In Riverie” is the awakening from the abyssal depths. This Yob-esque heavy and gloomy wall of riffs (reminding of “The Great Cessation”) perfectly merge into “Lungs Reach”, keeping us into a dense, harrowing atmosphère. Resurfacing, healing… Some people compare “The Beauty in Falling Leaves” to “Marrow”, to me it isn’t. Despite it’s bittersweet melancholy, this is far from the masterpiece we all know. Yet it makes an absolutely perfect emotional springboard with “Original Face”, to reach the album’s grand finale and eponymous track “Our Raw Heart”.
One could say this album is too “polished”, the sound being more accessible, with smoother riffs… but this is impossible, for YOB has that one thing very few bands manage to convey: sincerity, and an unrivaled talent for striking a chord. More contemplative than introspective. More light-driven than heart-rending. You can’t be unmoved by “Our Raw Heart”, just like the rest of their albums. Everything ends on a synesthesia of exquisite melodies and obscure vibrations. You feel soothed, jittery and fulfilled. Yob is Love.
Last modified: 25 October 2018